Victims’ anger at Facebook fixer

Stuart William Haines

Stuart William Haines

David Sanderson

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AN online gadget fixer has been accused of leaving dozens of people out of pocket.

Around two dozen unhappy customers of Stuart William Haines, who advertised his services on Facebook, have clubbed together in an attempt to get their money and belongings returned.

So far, five upset clients have contacted The News to tell their stories.

Among them is mum-of-five Jodie Wild, who claims she has been left with only one photograph of her late son Taylor, who died at eight weeks old.

The News has been told Mr Haines, 34, of Copnor in Portsmouth, posted adverts on a Portsmouth buy and sell page and has been accused of taking people’s broken phones and TVs, along with an up-front payment, and then not doing the work.

Lileanne Baker, 24, says she asked Mr Haines to fix a Samsung Galaxy S4, which she had bought with inheritance that her grandfather had left her.

Lileanne, who lives in Fareham, said: ‘I got some inheritance which is all I had left of my grandad.

‘I did not spend it for some time and thought I’d treat myself to a new phone if I got a good grade in my maths GCSE which I took.

‘I did get a good grade so I bought the phone.’

When the screen of the phone was accidentally broken, Lileanne started looking for a way of fixing it.

She explained: ‘I found him on Facebook offering a service repairing mobiles.

‘He had good feedback so I went ahead and contacted him.

‘I handed over my Samsung Galaxy S4 at the start of December and £135 to repair the screen and LCD.

‘My husband took it around to his house in December.

‘After a couple of weeks I started pestering him and we got excuse after excuse.

‘We left it until after Christmas and thought maybe it was just being slow because of the time of year. He said he had done it but the LCD was not working.

‘Eventually I turned around and said I wanted my phone back.

‘He said it would be ready to pick up from the local police station.’

Lileanne said she has lost £135 and still hasn’t recovered the phone, which is worth £400.

‘The police won’t do anything as it’s a civil matter,’ she added.

‘I’m now following trading standards’ procedure, which is a long process of pointless letters before action.

‘I’ve lost my phone, my last gift from my dead grandfather and am out of pocket.’

Her husband David, 27, added: ‘I went around to his house and he phoned the police when I was knocking on the door.’

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Mike Wade, 33, who lives in Copnor, said his partner’s broken phone screen was replaced with a new screen, ‘attached by Sellotape’.

He said: ‘He took £65 to do the work on my partner’s phone in November.

‘When he finally dropped it off it was a new screen attached with tape. It did not work.

‘I gave it back to him and he put another screen on that didn’t work.

‘He eventually gave me the phone back but I got no refund.

‘I took it to North End Post Office and they said the camera and the speaker was also broken.

‘It cost me £100 for them to fix it. It’s disgusting.’

Asked why he used someone on Facebook rather than going straight to the post office, he said: ‘He had a Facebook page and he had a lot of good feedback.’

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TV set ‘in worse state’

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Waterlooville resident Jo Osbourne says she bought a phone from Mr Haines at the end of last year.

‘I had it for a few weeks before it was barred and couldn’t make calls, text or anything,’ said the 49-year-old. ‘I spoke to Mr Haines who was adamant it was not his fault but he was the seller therefore it is his duty to either give my money back or replace the phone.

‘I told the police but they said there was nothing they could do.’

The News attempted to contact Mr Haines but at the time, he was being held on remand after he pleaded guilty to charges of common assault and perverting the course of justice.

He was given a 48-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and a restraining order.

Trading standards ‘considering action’

SOME of those who have spoken to The News have been told by a trading standards officer they are looking into claims made against Stuart Haines.

But when approached, Portsmouth City Council would not confirm or deny whether the issue is being investigated.

Dave Taylor, principal trading standards officer, told one victim by e-mail: ‘I’m considering whether action can be taken against this trader and if so what course of action we should take.’

In a statement, Alan Cufley, head of trading standards at Portsmouth City Council, told The News: ’We assess all complaints and investigate those which are deliberate fraud or reveal significant consumer detriment.

‘We would encourage anyone who has any concerns to contact the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.’

Portsmouth City Council’s trading standards can be contacted by e-mailing trading.standards@portsmouthcc.gov.uk.

A Hampshire Constabulary spokeswoman said a number of people had complained about Mr Haines but the force is advising people to talk to trading standards.

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